- The Washington Times - Monday, December 11, 2000

Team update

"We're hoping to get a whole lot busier very soon. We have plans to bring up our people in Texas very soon. And as was said in the Blues Brothers movie, 'the band is back.' "

Spokesman Ari Fleischer, reached yesterday afternoon at George W. Bush's transition headquarters in McLean.

Team update No. 2

One of Al Gore's aides summarized the "team position" with a common swear word in this week's issue of Newsweek, which hits the stands today. But there is a game plan, Tom Nides told the magazine. "Hold our breath, polish our resumes," he noted.

Hold a candle

How gloomy is the situation in Florida? Last night, the Democratic National Committee held a candlelight vigil on the back steps of the Leon County Public Library.

The back steps were chosen because this was the "entrance used by counters and observers," according to a DNC release.

"The vigil is in reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to halt the statewide count of the undervotes," noted spokeswoman Jenny Backus.

"The gathering will serve as an opportunity for voters to affirm their support for a full, fair and accurate count. As the Republican-controlled Legislature prepares to choose its own slate of electors, these citizens urge them to abandon that effort."

Meanwhile, protesters became a rarity outside the Supreme Court last night, replaced by folks with sleeping bags hoping to land a coveted ticket inside for today's proceedings.

Only one supporter for Al Gore remained behind. "I'm not alone. It just looks like it," protester Chris Hastie told reporters.

From the desk of WJC

It's called the "Clinton Materials Project" at National Archives: some 78 million items are being organized for the William J. Clinton Presidential Library down in Little Rock.

On Saturday, the president revealed the plans for his $100 million library, finally cleared for construction after a series of lawsuits and other complications.

The site will include, among other things, a replica of the Oval Office.

Mr. Clinton shared his thoughts on his personal memos, which will be available to library visitors on computer screens.

"It's amazing," Mr. Clinton said. "People will this may be somewhat embarrassing for me people will actually be able to pull up on the Internet copies of actual memos that I wrote on."

A researcher told him, "The reason we've got to have so many documents here is that you wrote more letters, more notes to your staff, on more pieces of paper than any president in history. And unfortunately, most of them are unreadable."

Moment of truth

Will the nation get over Election 2000?

"I think it can," said James A. Baker III, spokesman for Mr. Bush, on NBC's "Meet the Press" yesterday.

"I think that regardless of who wins, our democracy is strong enough and our country will move forward," he continued. "I don't buy this argument that somehow because we've been through what we've been through that neither one of these candidates can govern. I think that once there is a clear winner that is decided and declared, you're going to see the country pull together behind that person."

A new breed

The Republican Party is alive and well and living in Arkansas, personified by a former congressman.

"John Paul Hammerschmidt, that old lion of Arkansas Republicanism, showed he could still roar," noted the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette yesterday, recalling he "handed that Arkansas wonder Bill Clinton his first defeat."

Mr. Hammerschmidt was recently elected chairman of the state Republican Party after a "shoving match" with Jim Hendren, which tickles the Little Rock paper.

"Not long ago, the choice you had in Arkansas was Democrat or Yellow Dog Democrat. As for Republicans, they were a breed you read about in the national news, products of strange and distant parts," the paper stated. "But that was then. Arkansas now has a Republican governor and lieutenant governor, not to mention the first Republican senator since Reconstruction."

"And now," the paper continued, "the state GOP has a little internal power struggle. Sort of. It wasn't much of a fight, but it was more fight than family spat. Once upon a time, the Republicans could hold their statewide convention in a phone booth with room for refreshments. These days, they've moved to convention halls."

Out for a spin

"Every once in a while, we get to take the Constitution out for a spin," writes Nancy Gibbs in this week's issue of Time magazine, which hits the newsstands today. "And when we do, we learn it wasn't built for speed it was built to last, for the ages of ages. So in a time of severe impatience, it is teaching us, among other things, to be steadfast.

"The Founders, astride in an age of enlightenment and revolution, did not want power transferred quickly or easily or often. They knew much more about taking power by force than we ever will and the risks of anarchy that go with it. By comparison, what's going on here is almost an innocent minuet. It doesn't happen very often, and it isn't fun to watch, but we now have all three legs of our government out on the dance floor, all twirling around the same question: Who picks our Presidents, anyway?"

Deep pockets

A new study by the University of Wisconsin has analyzed campaign spending on television ads for both parties which topped $120 million this year.

Interest groups spent $14 million helping Mr. Gore including more than $7 million by Planned Parenthood. Groups aiding Mr. Bush spent about $2 million on TV ads.

In House races, the Democratic Party spent $22.7 million promoting candidates to $16.8 million by the Republican Party. Historically, Republicans have spent more.

Independent groups led by Citizens for Better Medicare spent more than $20 million helping Republicans in House races; similar groups spent a little more than $9 million helping Democrats.

The study found that Republicans spent more than $11 million on California TV ads to try to win the nation's largest electoral prize, while Al Gore failed to spend enough in states where he needed the most help. The Republicans spent plenty in California, to no avail; Mr. Gore won the state's 54 electoral votes while spending "nothing."

The analysis also found that Republicans outspent Democrats in Florida. Mr. Gore lost Tennessee after being outspent there, and he pulled out of Ohio after spending $11 million, only to lose the state by just 4 percentage points.

Saving face

American presidents get their own theme park come spring just outside Williamsburg.

Williamsburg developer Everette Newman has submitted his site plans for Presidents Park, a 9.9-acre outdoor attraction that will feature 18-foot tall busts of all U.S. presidents.

York County officials hope to review the plans within a month, then start construction.

The park has not been without controversy. Mr. Newman thinks the busts will add to the history of the area, but some purists think the park would be tacky. Williamsburg and Colonial Williamsburg officials also objected, fearing it would siphon tourists from their areas.

Originally, York County's zoning administrator and the county's zoning board classified the park as an "outdoor commercial amusement," the same classification as a nearby water park.

It would have required Mr. Newman to get a special-use permit to build the park. He appealed, saying the park was a museum and didn't need a special permit. A judge agreed. Mr. Newman is now going full speed ahead; two of the busts are already on display, with more to come.

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